Saturday, October 07, 2006

working hard or hardly working?

I'm on call for the Pain Service today, which kind of sucks (see: trapped in the hospital on a Saturday), but which has its upside too, since the service is not too too busy, and therefore I have a chance to hole up in my call room and turn it into a veritable STUDY HQ. What a cheap luxury, to have the time and space to study. Normally, I just try to study as much as I can when I'm at work, because when I get home, Cal is stuck to me like one of those stuffed monkeys with the velcro hands, and I have to do mother things like feed him and bathe him and keep him alive. Also, I am TIRED when I get home, so even if I didn't have Cal to take care of, I cannot guarantee that I would not just be sacked out on the couch blowing spit bubbles and vapidly watching "The Fabulous Life of Celebrity Pets" on VH1. But as you can imagine, sometimes it is hard to study at work. Because of the actual "work" component of work. And sometimes when I try to study in the OR, in the middle of a long case where NOTHING is happening, the surgeons will peer over the drape at me, see me with a textbook, and give me a Look. A Look that says, "Why are you just sitting there? Isn't there some urine that you should be measuring?"

So even though I don't like spending my weekend where the sun don't shine (in the hospital that is, not up someone's ass, though there are certain rooms that smell that way), I welcome the opportunity to actually get some real studying done, as I used to in days of yore. Though I was by no means the head of the class in med school, I think I had some reasonably disciplined study habits back in those days. I look back on some of my notes from second year (the point in my life that I think my academic compulsiveness hit its zenith) and I can't believe I ever worked that hard. I also can't believe I ever owned that many colors of highlighters. It was madness, I say. But at least I was healthier than some. There were people I went to med school with who would camp out in the library or in various teaching labs for days at a time, making a little study nest of loose papers and binders and textbooks, leaving only to sleep (optional) or pee (hopefully not optional). Some people brought lamps from home to plug into the outlets on the lab bench. One guy had a change of clothes.

I never wanted to be that crazy about studying, though certainly my study skills have eroded over the past five years to the point that I could afford to step it up a notch. It's just that the logistics are much harder now. When I was a second year med student, all I was expected to do was study. That was my job. But now I have an actual job, wherein I have to do other things during the day. And I have a kid. Also, I am enfeebled by old age. So I don't really have time to do my little color-coded charts and flashcards and nerd things. And half the time even when I do try to read something for academic's sake, I can't really seem to retain it once I turn the page. This is problematic. I am turning stupid.

Curiously, though my study and concentration skills have atrophied to an alarming degree, as you can see, my ability to procrastinate has not.

Currently watching: The first episode of "Grey's Anatomy." I kind of got sick of everyone asking me if I watched "Grey's Anatomy" and finally just caved and downloaded an episode off iTunes. I watched maybe half an hour of it and then I had to turn it off. It's probably just me, but it just became too aggravating. I know a lot of people like this show, so I don't want to be the crotchety killjoy screeching about the inaccuracies, but it was just torture to sit and watch each scene, where every other moment I was thinking to myself "That's wrong. That would never happen. That's just--no. And why are they all sitting around? Don't they have any work to do?" That show needs to get a medical consultant. Or at least one that has actually practiced medicine in a real hospital, not just in HO-lly-wood, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh HO-lly-wood. Do real police feel the same way when they watch cop shows on TV? Or lawyers when they watch those law shows where people are in court every second, shouting objections and breaking down on the witness stand?

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